Everyone has his or her own idea of the perfect vacation. Whether it includes sun tanning on beautiful beaches, hiking, exploring caves, swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, water parks, getting up close and personal with wildlife, delicious food, clubbing, local culture, or possibly learning a new language… Tenerife offers all this and more!
This Spanish island is a widely known European vacation destination; also a place few Americans know exists. So, it’s a wonder how three Americans managed to cram every one of these activities into just seven days. We came to the island with no preconceived ideas, we just “Googled” things that interested us and went with what we found. Staying in Puerto de la Cruz, originally we had been on the island for three weeks when our friend Barrett (above, left) came to join us from California to take part in our final week of adventures. We had composed a massive itinerary of everything we wanted to do in the final week. Everything began with renting a car – the island is bigger than most people think – and transportation was key to conquering our larger than life list.
Unfortunately the Wednesday Barrett arrived, Kyle left for London, taking two days away from our week long excursion. After bidding farewell to Kyle, Megan and Barrett headed straight for Playa JardÃn, to play in the ocean and soak up the sun. The next day the pair drove to Playa Abades on the south side of the island, to go snorkeling. Easy Blue World made it simple, only €12 for a wetsuit, snorkel, mask and fins; everything you need for a day of blissful underwater exploration.
Luckily Kyle was gone barely long enough to notice; picking him up from the airport Friday, the reunited trio made a break for Playa Teresitas in Santa Cruz, hardly giving Kyle a chance to change into his trunks. Truly living up to its reputation, Teresitas sandblasted us ““ sending us, towels tucked between our legs to Playa Bollullo on the border of La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz, our favorite beach on the island.
Saturday morning we woke up early to splash around in the naturals pools of Garachico. From there it was only a short trek up the mountain to our next destination Cueva del Viento in Icod de Los Vinos, for €15 a person we were able to tour the largest lava tube in Europe ““ unfortunately the two hour tour left much to be desired. Back on the road again, we sped towards Punta Teno in Buenavista del Norte to see the lighthouses and dive from the point into clear blue waters. After our action packed day, we drove home, dried off and dressed up for a night on the town. Despite what people say about the north of the island, Puerto de la Cruz has a solid nightlife that kept us out long after 4am!
Sunday was more low-key; we took the little yellow train to Loro Parque, a state of the art animal park and aquarium. The facility boasts the best sea lion, dolphin and orca shows any of us had ever seen. As soon as the park closed, we made our way to a local all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet to fuel up for the next day’s hike.
Monday morning was Masca. The lengthy hour and twenty minute drive from Puerto de la Cruz paled in comparison to what awaited. The strenuous trail took us from the quaint, sleepy, mountain village to the sea (8.5km each way). And what hikes down, must hike back up ““ unless of course you want to take the boat to Los Gigantes, which we did not. Beginning at 9am we were first hikers on the trail, the undisturbed views were breathtaking. The Masca hike was easily the toughest, and most rewarding part of our week.
The next morning we drove around the island to Siam Park, hoping some fun in the sun would help us recover from our hike. Thrilling waterslides, white knuckled rafting, a shark tank, and tsunami wave pool were exactly what we needed! Although we had to wait through the long lines, we managed to ride everything. The dragon, an enormous toilet bowl, water slide was our favorite of the day. Six o’clock left us standing by our car with daylight to spare, so we ventured to Playa La Tejita and El Médano. Falling in love with El Médano, we stayed to watch the kite surfers while Barrett and Kyle unsuccessfully tried their luck at body surfing.
Wednesday was our last full day on the island, which we spent souvenir shopping, packing and enjoying one final trip to the beach. We had dinner in the town square, and then wandered around Puerto de la Cruz taking in the sights and smells of the city one last time. Of course, we don’t recommend cramming this much into seven days. There are certainly things we missed due to lack of time, but all in all we think the Guanches would have been proud of what we accomplished on their wonderful island!
Americans on Tenerife is a guest post from Megan Gonzales & Kyle Ledeboer from TravelingintheMoment.com